NS: Empty storefronts 'a concern' as Yarmouth gets ready for ferry

Eric Bourque, The Vanguard
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Councillor Ken Langille says what visitors should see is something that impresses them and makes them eager to see what else the local area and the province have to offer.

Downtown Yarmouth

[YARMOUTH, NS] - Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood says she feels the town is progressing well in its plans to welcome the new ferry.

“I feel good about our readiness,” she said Wednesday morning at the town hall after a brief meeting of council. The mayor had called the session specifically to discuss the new ferry and what the town is doing – or perhaps should be doing – with regard to beautification and the like as it prepares to welcome the new vessel.

Concern was expressed during the meeting about the state of Yarmouth’s downtown, notably the many empty storefronts on Main Street, an issue raised by councillor Ken Langille, who, like others around the council table, said the town should be trying to make a good impression on the people who will be arriving on the new ferry.

“The first impression of Nova Scotia, for those visitors, is going to be us,” he said. “That’s basically it. When those people get off the boat, the first thing they’re going to see is this town.”

What visitors should see, he said, is something that impresses them and makes them eager to see what else the local area and the province have to offer.

Said the mayor, “Empty storefronts are a huge concern and my sincere hope is to speak with some of the landlords to see if we can all come together and agree on a plan … I think we have willing landlords and we have people or different entities that could make this work.”

The town is looking at making Main Street greener by having bump-outs that would add trees to the area.

“Basically it’s a concrete slab and planters with a tree in the middle and it just adds greenery and it kind of divides up that long (stretch) of cars,” Mayor Mood said after the meeting.

She stressed that this is not the sort of planter set-up that the town had many years ago and generated such a negative response.

“No, not even close,” she said.

The town will be looking at the cost of the proposal and whether it might be able to access funds from the provincial or federal governments, she said.

The town doesn’t have an official start-up date for the new ferry service, but it is still aiming for May 1, the mayor said.

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